By Kelsi Peace, Managing Editor
Campaigns will soon reach full swing as Students’ Association senator and representative hopefuls prepare for the Sept. 11 elections.
And this year, election chair and SA vice president Daniel-Paul Watkins will interview candidates in person as part of a front-end screening process to be sure the candidate is prepared to follow election rules.
While Watkins cannot stop a candidate from running, he did say he could advise against it if a candidate does not seem to be willing to make the time commitment or comply with election rules.
Petitions have been available in the SA office in the Bean Sprout since Monday, and Watkins said he has not met with any candidates who caused him concern.
Watkins, who writes the election rules and procedures, struck the ability to dock votes from candidates who violate rules from the document, a move that came after last year’s congress struck down legislation he co-wrote to remove the rule.
“We go to Abilene Christian University,” Watkins said, “It’s the ‘Do the right thing’ theme.”
To avoid any confusion, Watkins said he wrote the procedures as clearly as possible, concluding “The intended meaning of the rules and procedures in this document are at the discretion of the Students’ Association Congress, the president and vice president of the Students’ Association, and the elections chair.”
The call for members of the SA Congress to uphold a higher standard reflects a general movement for the organization, Watkins said.
“We’re calling everybody to a higher standard.”
This includes, Watkins said, expecting Cabinet members to wear business casual to all meetings and expecting Congress members to attend meetings. Last year, Congress could not vote on several issues because not enough members were present.
“People are going to be held accountable for the things they do,” Watkins said. Candidates vying for positions as senators, residence hall representatives or academic representatives are required to obtain signatures from 10 percent of their constituents or a minimum of 15 signatures.
To acknowledge their acceptance of the rules, candidates deposit $10, which will not be returned if the candidate receives a violation, and will then be used at SA’s discretion, according to the rules.
As candidates plaster walls with posters, they must bear in mind their budget limits-$60 for class senators and representatives and have all materials pre-approved by the elections chair.
The difference between a senator and a representative, Watkins said, is that a senator address broader issues for the class as a whole, while the representative may focus on more specific issues, for instance, installing an air hockey table in a residence hall lobby.
Students can vote after Chapel until 5:30 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, and results will be announced by 8 p.m. Wednesday. If necessary, run-offs will begin after Chapel until 3:30 p.m. Thursday.